Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #40: Sanghamitra (Mithu) Deb

Dear families and community members,

Here is to our first employee of the week.
Please take a few minutes to get to know Mrs. Mithu Deb, one of our creative art teachers!

Mrs. Deb was born and raised in Kolkata, India. She first moved to Michigan as she followed her husband that was a student at the time. The couple moved to Austin when her husband, Mr. Manas Deb, joined a Ph.D. program at UT-Austin. Mrs. and Mr. Deb met in college and have been married since 1986. They have a beautiful and intelligent daughter, Chaaru, together; she's a senior at LASA, a science magnet school in Austin ISD. She is a very high achieving scholar who scored 2400 in her SAT and is selected as a National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist! Mrs. Deb must be a proud mom! :) Interesting facts about Mrs. Deb: 1) she was a graphic designer for the longest time; 2) she started her own Art School from home, which she still runs, teaching art and ceramics to adults and children. She has joined the RRISD community as an art teacher three years ago and she currently serves students and families at Spicewood and Laurel Mt. ES. Her favorite food is mango. Her favorite color is off-white. She loves One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish written by Dr. Seuss because it was the first book she read aloud to her daughter.

Mrs. Deb shared that she loves the IB curriclum, international mindedness, and support for teachers and students here at Spicewood. "The work environment is great with everyone being so friendly. It's like a big family with a good support system," stated Mrs. Deb. She'd like to tell our students to "be yourself, bring new ideas to work on in art and think differently!" 

When I visited her classroom this week, our students in her classroom were not only being creative with their art work but also with a story they were given an opportunity to write that would go with their art work. Students were challenged to imagine beyond and be creative with details in both art work and writing. Mrs. Deb was conferring with individual students as they brought ideas and their writings to share with her. Learners were held to a high expectation of self-directed learning as teacher intervened as a facilitator to guide them.
Some students were working on their art work while others were writing

Mrs. Deb conferring with individual students as other students were focused on their own learning
Mrs. Deb has been a great asset to our campus and we truly appreciate all that she does for our students at Spicewood and Laurel Mt.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Updates from the Principal- Celebrations Included!

Dear families and community members,

There's much to celebrate as always and much important information to pass on . :)
Thank you so much for taking your time to read through!


Celebrations from Last Week

Teacher of the Year & Paraprofessional of the Year
Spicewood is excited to announce our Teacher of the Year and the Paraprofessional of the Year. Please congratulate Mrs. Pam Kadgihn, our kindergarten teacher as she has been nominated and selected as our Teacher of the Year this school year by her colleagues. Also, please congratulate Mrs. Lacey Clark-Lott as she's been selected as our Paraprofessional of the Year by teachers and staff! 


Teacher of the Year
Mrs. Pam Kadgihn
Paraprofessional of the Year
Mrs. Lacey Clark-Lott
Sertoma Club National Heritage Essay Contest 2013-2014
10 of our 5th grade students’ Sertoma Essays were submitted to the district level by our wonderful 5th grade teachers. I'm pleased to announce that Glen Liu has been chosen as one of the Top Three Winners. Anika Chokhavatia, Josie Herrin, Helen Hnang and Grant Sechler have been chosen as the Honorable Mention Winners. There were 10 district wide Honorable Mention Winners and 5 of them are from Spicewood! This is a huge accomplishment for us to celebrate! I'd like to congratulate all students recognized and also all of our teachers who have taught them to produce such awesome writing! Special thanks goes to the 5th grade teachers for number of hours they spent teaching & reading the essays to select the 10 to submit to the district!

This Week's News


Meet the Faces of Spicewood

Please be sure to take a moment to meet our wonderful staff: Carrie Cheney (Interventionist);  Amy Mitchell (5th Grade Teacher); Sheri Hoffman (Diagnostician); Pam Kadgihn (Kindergarten Teacher)

WatchDOGS-THANK YOU! 

I want to extend a personal thank-you to all the dads who have and still are volunteering their valuable time in various ways at Spicewood. Thanks to everyone who's out there to help us with traffic every morning and afternoon. Thanks to everyone who's taken a day off at work to come support us on Fridays. Thanks, dads! We are so grateful for your awesome involvement and support!  

Staff Parking Lot Usage

This is a friendly reminder that no parents/students are allowed to use the staff parking lot to get to the main entrance in the morning. Many staff members have been sharing concerns for safety of our parents and children. It's difficult to see parents and/or students coming out in between cars to walk across when our staff members are driving through the parking lot. We're working diligently with the RRISD Central Administration to get the sidewalks approved to be placed in the grand lawn area. Thank you for your understanding and support in this matter. 

Join the SPICEWOOD PTA
We're calling all parents and community members to join the Spicewood Parent Teacher Association (PTA). We have reached approximately 550 members for this year, including 100% participation from our wonderful staff. In order for us to be considered to have reached 100% participation for the school, we need still need 168 more members. Though we love every PTA member to volunteer, it is certainly not required of members to volunteer upon acquiring the membership. Membership invitation extends to not just one adult per household but to both parents, grandparents and community members for $7.50 per person. Please visit our PTA Website and scroll down to PTA Membership portion to join our PTA online. You can also download the Membership Form here to fill out and turn it into your child's teacher with a check payable to Spicewood PTA. 


This time we are having a classroom PTA challenge to encourage parents to join the PTA. Each class that reaches 100% parent enrollment will win a pajama day and enjoy a movie.  If our campus reaches 100% parent participation, I will join in the celebration and wear my pajama’s, too! The deadline to be included in the classroom challenge is March 4th. Partnership between parents and teachers is a critical component that impacts all children's learning at Spicewood ES. Involved parents and community understand the challenges schools face and become part of the solution. We need your support! 

KLRU Writers Contest for Kinder-3rd Grade
The PBS KIDS Writers Contest is a local-national contest designed to promote the advancement of children’s reading skills through hands-on, active learning. Children in kindergarten through third grade will be encouraged to write and illustrate stories and submit them to KLRU, which will then select winners and award prizes in May 2014. The KLRU-TV first place grade level winners will be entered into the national level of the Contest, where a renowned panel of judges select the national winners. Winners will be announced and national prizes will be awarded in June 2014. The KLRU-TV local Writers Contest will end April 7, 2014. Please review contest rules for detailed information before entering the story.
All of the forms and more information is available on the KLRU website.

5th Grade Transfer Request to Grisham MS for IB Program

All 2014-15 Student Transfer Applications are to be submitted directly to the Student Transfer Office at Administration.  No Applications are to be accepted at the School Campus.  The application can be emailed, faxed, mailed or dropped off at the Administration Building. Current RRISD students who submit their transfer application after the April 1st deadline will be assessed a $30 nonrefundable application processing fee.

Love and Logic Training- Message from Mrs. Hougham [Counselor]

There is a 4 week, FREE Love and Logic parent training series being offered at Laurel Mountain Elementary which will be hosted by trainers from STARRY counseling.  

When:  March 26, April 2, April 9, and April 16

Time:  6:00-8:00
Where:  Laurel Mountain Elementary, 10111 DK Ranch Rd., Austin, TX  78759

Space is limited and this training is offered to parents in RRISD, LISD, and GISD, so early registration is advised.  NO CHILDCARE or food will be provided. Please attend all 4 sessions for maximum benefit. The flyer with detailed information will be posted in our eFolder this Friday. 


"One World, One Night" Spicewood International Festival
Spicewood is excited to announce the International Festival that will take place on Tuesday, February 25 from 6:30-8:30PM; the theme will be "One World, One Night" At the festival you will find tables hosted by fellow Spicewood parents sharing their culture by exhibiting cultural artifacts such as traditional clothing or by providing samples of ethnic foods or by teaching crafts or games related to their culture. The evening will end with a fashion show where parents and students can show off their traditional outfits. If you're interested in participating by hosting a table of your culture, please contact Shannon Williamson at shannon.williamson@gmail.com. For more information, please view the flyer in our eFolder. 

Spirit Night hosted by PTA

We invite all students and families to come join us for dinner at Subway on Anderson Mill next Thursday, February 27. Kindergarten teachers, Mr. Parks and Ms. Kim will be in attendance for part of the night. We'd love to see you all! 

Civil War Reenactment hosted by 5th Grade

Next Friday, February 28, our 5th grade students and teachers will perform a Civil War Reenactment starting approximately at 9AM. Each 5th grade student has been notified if he/she is a Northerner or Southerner. All students will have hats and dress up the part of the day. There will not be any toy weapons, however, to make it school appropriate, while each student will receive 3 flour-made materials to represent bullets used in the battle. We'd love for you to come and be our audience! For detailed information, please view the schedule in our eFolder. 

Explore UT- Saturday, March 1

This is just for your information only. As an educator, I have always had extraordinary experiences at Explore UT in the past with my students. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Explore UT: The Biggest Open House in Texas! For those unfamiliar with the program, Explore UT features close to 400 programs across campus including performances, exhibits, lectures and activities for the entire family. Those who are familiar with Explore UT know it can be a day of fun and learning, and for those of us who serve as hosts we hope Explore UT will give you a glimpse of university life—the creative pulse of learning and discovery found in our classrooms, laboratories, studios and performance halls, and the world-class collections in our many museums and libraries. For detailed information on activities and special events, please visit the official website for Explore UT

RRISD Celebration of Families

Spicewood Cub Choir will be performing at the RRISD Celebration of Families on Saturday, March 1 at McNeil HS. They will perform right before the Superintendent's opening speech at 9AM. This is an annual event where children and parents are invited to attend various workshops and sessions hosted by the district. For more information on the RRISD Celebration of Families, please visit the official website


Enrichment Day
Call for Enrichment Day Volunteers:  Enrichment Day will be on Friday, March 7 this year, and the theme will be "How We Express Ourselves."  Our presenters will be teaching the students about how they use the fine arts every day in their various careers.  We are in need of both presenters and volunteers to make this a fun and rewarding day for the students and teachers.  We are looking for presenters who can teach the students about how they use the arts in their careers (for example: artists, graphic artists, musicians, television production, dance, theater, sound production, etc.).  The presenters will need to present the same 30-minute presentation to each grade level (six total presentations throughout the day).  Volunteers will work ½ day shifts, either from 8:00 am to 10:45 am or from 12:00 pm to 2:45 pm.  Both presenters and volunteers will be provided lunch.  If you or someone you know is willing to present or volunteer to assist the presenters during the day, please contact Carole Callaghan by email at carole@csclawaustin.com or by phone at 512-six.three.six-6138. 

Spicewood Spring Carnival
Each year the Spicewood PTA hosts a Spring Carnival. In past years, it has taken place on 
a Saturday afternoon. However, many parents expressed that with spring sports and other 
weekend obligations, it is difficult to do more than just "drop by" the event. In response to 
this feedback, PTA will host this year's carnival on Friday, April 11th, from 5pm - 8pm, with 
an outdoor movie following the carnival. With the new "Twilight Carnival" we are hopeful that more families from Spicewood will join in for the evening. Your help of course is needed. 
 To learn more about planning the event, please contact Mrs. Robyn Steinhauser via phone (512-762-5015) or email carnival@spicewoodpta.org. Planning the event is a great way to meet new parents and participate in the Spicewood community. More detailed information about volunteer sign-up process will be shared in near future. Please take a look at a letter from Mrs. Steinhauser for opportunities to volunteer. 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Tuesday, February 25
6:30-8:30PM "One World, One Night" Spicewood International Festival

Thursday, February 27
5:00-8:00PM  Spirit Night 
Subway on Anderson Mill 

Saturday, March 1
9:00AM-3:30PM   RRISD Celebrations of Families at McNeil HS
11:00AM-5:00PM   Explore UT [FYI]

Friday, March 7
Annual Enrichment Day- How We Express Ourselves

Monday, March 10- Friday, March 14
SPRING BREAK
No School

Wednesday, March 19
12:45PM Early Release
All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #39: Pam Kadgihn

Congratulations to Mrs. Kadgihn for being selected as the Teacher of the Year!


Mrs. Kadgihn was born in Round Rock, TX and ever since then she's never left the greater Austin area. An amazing fact about Mrs. kadgihn is that she's been teaching at Spicewood for 39 years- that's how long Spicewood has been open for so you can imagine all the changes that the school has gone through that she's witnessed! Her career began at Spicewood in the spring of 1975 when she was first hired as a "floating" teacher between kindergarten and 1st grade. She was promised a kindergarten position in the fall of the following school year and ever since then, she's been teaching kindergarten here at Spicewood. She has a husband who's retired and a daughter who works as a teller at A+ Credit Union. Her daughter hopes to be a famous author someday! Her favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs. Her favorite color is blue. She loves the Hunger Games series as her favorite pick of the books.

Mrs. Kadgihn shared, "The people here- everyone is so friendly and caring about one another. Our awesome staff, great parents, and of course, the incredible kids!" She wants to give a shout out to our students to never give up on their dreams!

When people hear a person has been teaching 40 years, they'll most likely wonder what her classroom or instructional strategies might look like. With Mrs. Kadgihn, you would not believe that she's been teaching nearly 40 years. She is such a strong self-reflective educator that she's constantly seeking for professional development opportunities and research-based instructional strategies to incorporate in her teaching. I would even say she's one of the early adapters of new instructional technology and much more. She's so loving but firm at the same time that her students are clearly aware of high expectations that she's set for them and  they strive to reach them each and every day with her guidance.
Introducing the Itsy Bitsy Spider to learn about rhymes 

Children singing along and Mrs. Kadgihn asking questions to assess student understanding of rhyming words

Organized for effective learning
Student work displayed along with tools for learning
I am truly honored to have and serve her as one of our teachers as she's seen all of the history of Spicewood unfolds. One day I would just like to sit with her and talk about allllllll the changes she's gone through and witnessed. :)

Congratulations to Mrs. Kadgihn once again!

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #38: Sheri Hoffman

Still playing catch up from bad weather days ;)

Please take a moment to meet our Diagnostician, Mrs. Sheri Hoffman.

Mrs. Hoffman was born in Odessa, TX and eventually made her way to Austin. She's our School Diagnostician whom we also share with Kathy Caraway Elementary School. Mrs. Hoffman's been serving our community for the last 6 years. Allow me to explain a bit of what she does; Mrs. Hoffman is a certified personnel to evaluate any learners with special needs or ones who school suspects there might be needs. She evaluates our learners and generates reports to share with a committee of people- parents, administrators and teachers- based on findings from her evaluation. Not only does she take care of evaluation and all the paperwork that comes with it, I mean a lot of paperwork, she truly knows all of our students under her care and builds wonderful relationships with parents and families while ensuring all adequate services are provided to our children.

Mrs. Hoffman started as a middle school teacher at Alief ISD after graduating from UT and taught Language Arts for a few years. After moving back, she also taught at a middle school in Austin as well. She then ventured out to Australia and worked at a college in Adult Literacy (fascinating!). She returned to Austin a few years later to teach 8th grade Language Arts while completing her masters program in Psychological Assessment and became a school diagnostician. She has 3 members in her family, including herself. Her husband works at Apple Computers and her daughter is a sophomore at Texas State University. Mrs. Hoffman's favorite food is Thai food. Her favorite book is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

When asked what her favorite thing about working at Spicewood was, she replied, "Everything! Parents, Students and staff! Everyone works together to make Spicewood a wonderful opportunity and experience for students." She'd like to advise our students to work hard, play hard and treat everyone with respect! 

I feel so very fortunate that she's our diagnostician. Not only is she effective but her deep caring heart for our students and community truly makes a significant difference here at Spicewood.

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #37: Amy Mitchell

Here comes the second employee of the week to get to know!

Please meet Mrs. Amy Mitchell, one of our fabulous fifth grade teachers!

Mrs. Mitchell was born and raised in Lubbock, TX. Wanting a change after her father passed away while in graduate school at Texas Tech University, she met Mr. Jerry Don Landers, the very first principal at Spicewood, at a career fair at Texas Tech and was offered a teaching position three weeks later. So she packed up and said farewell to the town of Lubbock 15 years ago! She's been with us since and taught 3rd grade for 6 years and this is her 9th year teaching 5th grade. Fun fact about Mrs. Mitchell is that she started college as Opera Theater major then switched to Child Development to get on the path of becoming a teacher. She then met Mr. Mitchell, her husband in Austin and got married. They now have two beautiful children together: Mallory in 2nd grade and Blaine in Kindergarten both at Spicewood. She's a proud mom as Mallory is highly involved in Girl Scouts and both children play soccer and are shark's swimmers! Mr. Mitchell has been in the car business for more than 20 years and he's a critical part of our school community as he volunteers so much of his valuable time in so many different ways! It is truly appreciated! (I personally love that I can count on him and other WatchDOGS dads to be out every morning to help us with traffic!) Mrs. Mitchell's favorite food is Mexican food and salads. She loves the color green. Her favorite book is the famous Harry Potter series.

Mrs. Mitchell "LOVES the students, parent support and the loving and caring staff and environment at Spicewood and couldn't have asked for more supportive administrators (I promise you; Mrs. Page or I didn't pay her to say this ;)." She also commends the community support that's been excellent for our kids and staff. She'd like to tell our students, "if you can't make a mistake, you can't make anything!"

I am always fascinated by the discussions and scaffolding that occur every time I visit Mrs. Mitchell's classroom. Students are constantly challenged in their thinking process. It doesn't stop at thinking about it as the students are pushed to make connections and share out their thinking by Mrs. Mitchell. When I visited the classroom this week, students were making inferences in so many different ways. First was a picture book then a video clip and then using their own chapter books with a partner. Mrs. Mitchell never stops asking questions to check student understanding in the moment.
Introducing specific inference questions prior to reading a book so students can think about it throughout the story.

Fanny's Dream read aloud. 

Students finding context clues and creating their own inference question to share with their reading partner
I always thoroughly enjoy visiting Mrs. Mitchell's classroom because I see so much thinking and learning happening. Kudos to Mrs. Mitchell and Mrs. Mitchell's 5th graders!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #36: Carrie Cheney

Dear blog readers, 

I'd like to take a moment to introduce to you, Ms. Carrie Cheney, one of our amazing interventionists here at Spicewood. 
 

Ms. Cheney was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio (burr). She moved to Austin after a few years of teaching to try something new. She's a risk-taker and fits right into our IB philosophy. ;) This is her first year at Spicewood and she works as our half-time interventionist in the mornings. Mrs. Cheney comes with a wealth of knowledge in curriculum as she taught 3rd grade and 5th grade for 6 years. She has also worked as a consultant at Hartcourt (the company that publishes lots and lots of our textbooks used in the state of Texas) for a few years prior to coming to us. Mrs. Cheney has two beautiful daughters: Clare (19) who is in the Cedar Valley Show Choir and Mady (9) who loves gymnastics. Her favorite food is, in her exact words, yummy salad with lots of goodies along with sweet potato fries. Her choice of favorite book is called Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, a book she read this past summer. Mrs. Cheney joined us after the school year has already kicked off due to additional personnel allocation. Even though she joined a bit late, she feels that the faculty, staff and parents have been so welcoming that she already feels at home. Mrs. Cheney would like to tell our students, "you always miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Be open to trying new things!" 

Even though she's supposed to be here only for the morning, it never stops her from staying late for important student meetings and professional developments to better improve her instructional skills. It is extremely evident that she loves every child she serves and she's already built trusting relationships with all of the students from various grade levels despite her late start. It clearly shows that her positive attitude truly permeates through the attitudes of her students that motivate them to take ownership of their learning. We are so lucky to have such a committed educator to serve our students!

Teaching away!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Updates from the Principal- Celebration Included

Dear families and community members,

Thanks to all the parents that came out last Friday to help out and volunteer in the classrooms. We love seeing parents throughout our building! 

Enjoy the newsletter!


Celebrations from Last Week


Artwork Displayed at Performing Art Center (PAC) & RRISD Administration Building
Congratulations to kindergartener, Yu Yan Chen, and third graders, Jacob Darwin and Sophia Zhong, whose  artwork  was selected to be displayed in the RRISD Administration building and RRISD Preforming Arts Center.  The chosen artwork will be on display  for a whole year in two of Round Rock's most visited buildings!  We are so proud of our outstanding Spicewood artists, Congratulations! Mrs. Deb, Mrs. Raybourn and Ms. Kim-


Yu Yan Chen's Artwork
Sophia Zhong's Artwork
Jacob Darwin's Artwork


This Week's News


Meet the Faces of Spicewood

Please be sure to take a moment to meet our wonderful staff: Kathy Prichard (4th Grade Teacher), Maria Tinajero (Day Custodian), Jen Raybourn (Art Teacher), Maria Pruitt (Educational Assistant- Library), Laura Reeb (Librarian)

WatchDOGS Friday!

This Friday, February 21, we call for Dads and father figures to come volunteer at Spicewood. We loved seeing you all throughout the building during the first semester and we want to continue the great work! Please sign up online here and we look forward to seeing you all. 

5th Grade Transfer Request to Grisham MS for IB Program

All 2014-15 Student Transfer Applications are to be submitted directly to the Student Transfer Office at Administration.  No Applications are to be accepted at the School Campus.  The application can be emailed, faxed, mailed or dropped off at the Administration Building. Current RRISD students who submit their transfer application after the April 1st deadline will be assessed a $30 nonrefundable application processing fee.

Love and Logic Training- Message from Mrs. Hougham [Counselor]

There is a 4 week, FREE Love and Logic parent training series being offered at Laurel Mountain Elementary which will be hosted by trainers from STARRY counseling.  

When:  March 26, April 2, April 9, and April 16

Time:  6:00-8:00
Where:  Laurel Mountain Elementary, 10111 DK Ranch Rd., Austin, TX  78759

Space is limited and this training is offered to parents in RRISD, LISD, and GISD, so early registration is advised.  NO CHILDCARE or food will be provided. Please attend all 4 sessions for maximum benefit. The flyer with detailed information will be posted in our eFolder this Friday. 



Six Flags Read to Succeed Form DUE This Friday
Any students who have been keeping up with the Six Flags Read to Succeed reading log must turn in the log by this Friday, February 21st to Mrs. Reeb in the library. If you'd like to obtain a new form, please see Mrs. Reeb for a new copy or download it from our eFolder.  

"One World, One Night" Spicewood International Festival
Spicewood is excited to announce the International Festival that will take place on Tuesday, February 25 from 6:30-8:30PM; the theme will be "One World, One Night" At the festival you will find tables hosted by fellow Spicewood parents sharing their culture by exhibiting cultural artifacts such as traditional clothing or by providing samples of ethnic foods or by teaching crafts or games related to their culture. The evening will end with a fashion show where parents and students can show off their traditional outfits. If you're interested in participating by hosting a table of your culture, please contact Shannon Williamson at shannon.williamson@gmail.com. For more information, please view the flyer in our eFolder. 

Spirit Night hosted by PTA

We invite all students and families to come join us for dinner at Subway on Anderson Mill next Thursday, February 27. Kindergarten teachers, Mr. Parks and Ms. Kim will be in attendance for part of the night. We'd love to see you all! 


Civil War Reenactment hosted by 5th Grade
Next Friday, February 28, our 5th grade students and teachers will perform a Civil War Reenactment starting approximately at 9AM. Each 5th grade student has been notified if he/she is a Northerner or Southerner. All students will have hats and dress up the part of the day. There will not be any toy weapons, however, to make it school appropriate, while each student will receive 3 flour-made materials to represent bullets used in the battle. We'd love for you to come and be our audience! For detailed information, please view the schedule in our eFolder. 

Explore UT- Saturday, March 1

This is just for your information only. As an educator, I have always had extraordinary experiences at Explore UT in the past with my students. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Explore UT: The Biggest Open House in Texas! For those unfamiliar with the program, Explore UT features close to 400 programs across campus including performances, exhibits, lectures and activities for the entire family. Those who are familiar with Explore UT know it can be a day of fun and learning, and for those of us who serve as hosts we hope Explore UT will give you a glimpse of university life—the creative pulse of learning and discovery found in our classrooms, laboratories, studios and performance halls, and the world-class collections in our many museums and libraries. For detailed information on activities and special events, please visit the official website for Explore UT

RRISD Celebration of Families

Spicewood Cub Choir will be performing at the RRISD Celebration of Families on Saturday, March 1 at McNeil HS. They will perform right before the Superintendent's opening speech at 9AM. This is an annual event where children and parents are invited to attend various workshops and sessions hosted by the district. For more information on the RRISD Celebration of Families, please visit the official website


Enrichment Day
Call for Enrichment Day Volunteers:  Enrichment Day will be on Friday, March 7 this year, and the theme will be "How We Express Ourselves."  Our presenters will be teaching the students about how they use the fine arts every day in their various careers.  We are in need of both presenters and volunteers to make this a fun and rewarding day for the students and teachers.  We are looking for presenters who can teach the students about how they use the arts in their careers (for example: artists, graphic artists, musicians, television production, dance, theater, sound production, etc.).  The presenters will need to present the same 30-minute presentation to each grade level (six total presentations throughout the day).  Volunteers will work ½ day shifts, either from 8:00 am to 10:45 am or from 12:00 pm to 2:45 pm.  Both presenters and volunteers will be provided lunch.  If you or someone you know is willing to present or volunteer to assist the presenters during the day, please contact Carole Callaghan by email at carole@csclawaustin.com or by phone at 512-six.three.six-6138. 

Spicewood Spring Carnival
Each year the Spicewood PTA hosts a Spring Carnival. In past years, it has taken place on 
a Saturday afternoon. However, many parents expressed that with spring sports and other 
weekend obligations, it is difficult to do more than just "drop by" the event. In response to 
this feedback, PTA will host this year's carnival on Friday, April 11th, from 5pm - 8pm, with 
an outdoor movie following the carnival. With the new "Twilight Carnival" we are hopeful that more families from Spicewood will join in for the evening. Your help of course is needed. 
 To learn more about planning the event, please contact Mrs. Robyn Steinhauser via phone (512-762-5015) or email carnival@spicewoodpta.org. Planning the event is a great way to meet new parents and participate in the Spicewood community. More detailed information about volunteer sign-up process will be shared in near future. Please take a look at a letter from Mrs. Steinhauser for opportunities to volunteer. 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Tuesday, February 25
6:30-8:30PM "One World, One Night" Spicewood International Festival

Thursday, February 27
5:00-8:00PM  Spirit Night 
Subway on Anderson Mill 

Saturday, March 1
9:00AM-3:30PM   RRISD Celebrations of Families at McNeil HS
11:00AM-5:00PM   Explore UT [FYI]

Friday, March 7
Annual Enrichment Day- How We Express Ourselves

Monday, March 10- Friday, March 14
SPRING BREAK
No School

Wednesday, March 19
12:45PM Early Release
All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #35: Laura Reeb

I'm trying to play catch-up and here's our last employee of the week.

Please meet our wonderful librarian, Mrs. Laura Reeb!


Mrs. Reeb was born in Victoria, Texas but moved to Austin when she was two years old. So really, she's another true Austinite. This is her 14th year at Spicewood; she started here when her two daughters were in kindergarten and 1st grade. Now they are both at Texas State University. Her husband coaches and teaches biology at McNeil HS. Mrs. Reeb initially received her degree in business but went back for her teaching certificate and taught 3rd grade at Fern Bluff ES for three years. She's always had this desire and passion for becoming a librarian so she made a bold commitment to go back to school to receive her master's degree to become a librarian. One interesting fact about her is that she was 18 years old the first time she ever flew! She loves to travel. Her favorite food is ice cream. Her favorite song is What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. Her favorite book changes depending on age and stage of her life but they're often historical fictions such as Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and Book Thief by Markus Zusak. As a kid, her favorites were James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl and Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Balm.

Working with such amazing and dedicated teachers and staff as well as having parents who are so involved and giving are some of her favorite things about Spicewood along with the great kids that she loves to see grow over the years. She'd like to give a shout out to our students; work hard and play hard. Enjoy life and make being kind a priority. 

Mrs. Reeb exemplifies what being kind looks like to all of our staff and students. She never stops searching for opportunities to grow as a librarian. She never stops making our children and their learning her priority on this campus. We are surely lucky to have her as our librarian.

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #34: Maria Pruitt

Are you ready for the fourth employee of the week?

Please meet our Library Educational Assistant, Mrs. Maria Pruitt.

Mrs. Pruitt was born in Freeport, New York and she moved to Austin when her husband's entire company relocated here in 1997. This is her 9th year working at Spicewood; 2 years as a part-time educational assistant and 7 years as a full-time educational assistant in the library. Mrs. Pruitt and her husband, Russell, have two very successful children. Alex, age 25, is a mechanical engineer working in San Jose, CA. Carolyn, age 22, is a graduate student at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her career history is another fascinating one. Mrs. Pruitt has a BS and MS in Geology from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. She worked for several oil companies for 12 years until she took time off when children were little. She moved from Lafayette, Louisiana  to Dallas to Austin and when she got to Austin, she started volunteering at Spicewood when her own two kids were students here. Mrs. Pruitt likes just about any food, like me :) She loves cool colors like purple, green and blue. As she loves reading, it's hard for her to pick one book as her favorite. In general, she really likes science fiction, fantasy and series books.

Mrs. Pruitt shared that her favorite thing about working at Spicewood is the people! "Spicewood is such a great place to be because it's a big part of the community," stated Mrs. Pruitt. She'd like to tell our students to be organized and not to procrastinate.

Mrs. Pruitt is a vital part of our library as she helps Mrs. Reeb in various ways throughout the school day. She does anything from checking out books, doing a small group lesson, to reading aloud to a group of students and much more. She's always positive with our students and she build good relationships with them as they come through the library. Spicewood operates so smoothly because we have people like Mrs. Pruitt who works diligently behind the scene. Thanks for all your hard work, Mrs. Pruitt!



Meet the Faces of Spicewood #33: Jen Raybourn

Dear Blog Readers,

I'd like you to meet Mrs. Jen Raybourn, our fabulous Art teacher!


Mrs. Raybourn was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and moved here to Austin, TX for husband's job five years ago. Mrs. Raybourn and her husband, Grant, share three dogs- Ava, Aggie and Scout. She loves the city and it already feels like home to her! Her career history is quite amazing and interesting. She spent 6 years in art education as an Assistant Director Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, 3 years in art therapy at Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, 1 year in Fine Arts at Austin School of Performing and Visual Art and finally landed in the land of RRISD 3 years ago as an art teacher. She was split and shared between Brushy Creek and Caraway ES for the last two years. Inevitably, when asked what her favorite thing about working at Spicewood was, her answer was, "I have ONE classroom- all of my own!" :) She loves not having to alternate between two campuses every other week and rightfully so. Mrs. Raybourn's favorite food is Indian food. Her favorite color is orange. As she's also a reading fanatic, she couldn't possible choose just one book as her favorite just like Mrs. Prichard.

"I am new but am overwhelmed by the friendly and supportive staff," shared Mrs. Raybourn. She'd like to remind our students, "think before you speak- some words you can never take back!"

Mrs. Raybourn has brought in a bubbly and energetic aura to Spicewood ES. She is a risk taker as she loves to introduce new projects and concepts to our learners. She brings in a tremendous wealth of knowledge as you can tell from reading about her career history. Her classroom door is always open to parents and community members as she hosts Art Volunteers in the Classroom. She's also one of the technologically innovative folks on this campus; she incorporates technology all the time to get our students hooked on art! All of our students have their own art portfolios online via Artsonia. Just this past Thursday, we had visitors from Google and the district to observe her innovative usage of google and technology.

Using Google Earth 
After Art Volunteers in the Classroom 
I'm so glad that we can have her passion and talents all to ourselves this year!

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #32: Maria Tinajero

Here comes second employee of the week!
Please take a minute to get to know one of our custodial staff, Ms. Maria Tinajero!


Mrs. Tinajero was born and raised in Mexico. She moved to California first then to Austin for her job. She has been at Spicewood for the last two and a half years as a custodian. Prior to landing a job in the district, she worked at some fast food chains where she learned the customer service skills. She has 6 family members total and shared that they are all special in different ways. Her favorite color is pink. Her favorite restaurant is Olive Garden. Her favorite thing about working at Spicewood is the people; she also feels that the happy faces of our wonderful students make Spicewood such a great place to be. She'd like to tell our students to learn all that they can and show respect to others.

Maria is extremely hard working and under our lead custodian's guidance, she has been so diligent in making Spicewood presentable at all times. If you see her, please be sure to say hello and thank her for her hard work!

Meet the Faces of Spicewood #31: Kathy Prichard

Dear Blog Readers,

With some weather irregularities, featuring of employees has been on a short halt. We're back at it again!
I'd like to introduce to you, one of our fantastic 4th grade teachers, Mrs. Kathy Prichard


Mrs. Prichard was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and moved to south Texas when she was 14 years old. She went to the best school ever- UT Austin- and majored in education. After graduating and getting married, Mrs. Prichard and her husband lived in San Francisco for 6 months so he could complete his architecture internship. The couple then moved to the Dallas area, where Mrs. Prichard taught 3rd grade in Arlington ISD for a year and a half. They then moved back to the San Francisco bay area and lived out there for 4 years! She taught 2nd grade at a private school in Marin County during that time. She and her husband had a daughter that was born in California and when their beautiful daughter turned 2 years old, they decided to move back to Texas to be closer to family. Mrs. Prichard and her husband specifically chose to live in Austin because they loved it here during college. Mrs. Prichard taught 2nd and 4th grade in Austin ISD for 14 years. Five years ago she decided to make a change and move to Spicewood and she's so glad she did! I'm SO GLAD she did as well. :) Mrs. Prichard is a proud mom of two children. Her daughter will graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design this spring, and her son is a junior at Westwood HS and plays the trombone in marching band. Her favorite food is Mexican food, especially chips and queso. Her favorite color is purple. As Mrs. Prichard loves to read, she can't pick just one book to name as her favorite!

Mrs. Prichard feels that all of the teachers here are amazing! "I learn so much from the teachers around me. We also have great kids and great parents!" shared Mrs. Prichard. She'd like to tell our students to learn good study skills now so they'll be prepared when they move onto Canyon Vista and Westwood. 

 When I visited Mrs. Prichard's class, students were being introduced to different measurement units for length. They were introduced to different prefixes of meter such as Kilo-, Hecto-, Deca- and then Deci-, Centi- and Milli-. Students were asked various questions by the teacher to make connections and think of relationships between the prefixes to scaffold new learning and understanding.
Mrs. Prichard in action
Students engaged in making connections and thinking
Academic references and resources are everywhere!
Evidence of student thinking and learning
Every time I visit Mrs. Prichard's classroom, I can always expect to see higher order thinking happening under her guidance. Students are always intrigued by her questions and they take risks and ownership in their learning process. We're so glad Mrs. Prichard decided to come to Austin ISD after all those years! :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

We'll be half way through the month of February by the end of this week. I would emphasize and point out the IB West Night that will occur this Thursday at Westwood HS. Any parents who would like to receive more information on the continuum of IB Programs -- Primary Years Program (PYP- Elementary School), Middle Years Program (MYP- Middle School) and Diploma Program (DP- High School)-- are highly encouraged to attend the IB West Feeder Pattern Information Night this Thursday, February 13 in the cafeteria at WWHS. All parents and students at Spicewood can seek the option of continuing to Noel Grisham Middle School (IB MYP) to receive the IB education at the middle school level. This is a decision that parents and students can make together based on student preference and educational philosophy. 

We are also seeking for volunteers to serve at some of our major annual events so please take a few minutes to read through for more information. 



This Week's News


Meet the Faces of Spicewood

I'll be making posts throughout the week this week. 


"Wonder" Author Visits RRISD
As a culmination to our One Book, One Community initiative, R.J. Palacio will be at Round Rock High School Cafeteria on Monday, February 10th to talk about her inspiring book, Wonder. All RRISD students and their families are invited to attend. Please join us at 5:30. Books will be available for purchase after the performance by the Book Spot and Ms. Palacio will be available to sign them. Arrive early because seating will be extremely limited and first come, first served, with a limit of 1600. Doors will open at 4:30 PM. Thanks for supporting our program and this wonderful book! 

Wellness Wednesday
Camp Gladiator is leading the remaining five sessions of Wellness Wednesdays and will be giving away a free spring or summer camp to one girl and one boy who attends the most classes this spring. Additionally, Mrs. Sanders' Grade 2 class won for having the highest participation during the fall semester. Congratulations to Mrs. Sanders' 2nd graders!

IB West Night [Feeder Pattern IB Parent Information Night]
Parents, Spicewood ES, Grisham MS and Westwood HS are coming together to host a IB Information Night for parents and students on Thursday, February 13 from 5:30-6:30PM in the cafeteria at WWHS. Any parents/5th grade students that wish to continue on with IB Program at the middle school level can file for a transfer to Grisham MS. At the Information Night, you will be able to find out more in detail about the benefits of continuum of IB Program from Primary Years Program (PYP) to Mid Years Program (MYP) to Diploma Program (DP) at the high school level. For more information, please view the flyer in our eFolder


Lost and Found
We will hold all the lost and found items till this Friday, February 14 in the back hallway of the school. All items that are not claimed by then will be donated to a charity organization. 

Six Flags Read to Succeed Form Due Next Friday
Any students who have been keeping up with the Six Flags Read to Succeed reading log must turn in the log by next Friday, February 21st to Mrs. Reeb in the library. If you'd like to obtain a new form, please see Mrs. Reeb for a new copy.  

"One World, One Night" Spicewood International Festival
Spicewood is excited to announce the International Festival that will take place on Tuesday, February 25 from 6:30-8:30PM; the theme will be "One World, One Night" At the festival you will find tables hosted by fellow Spicewood parents sharing their culture by exhibiting cultural artifacts such as traditional clothing or by providing samples of ethnic foods or by teaching crafts or games related to their culture. The evening will end with a fashion show where parents and students can show off their traditional outfits. If you're interested in participating by hosting a table of your culture, please contact Shannon Williamson at shannon.williamson@gmail.com. For more information, please view the flyer in our eFolder. 


Enrichment Day Preparation Has Begun!
Call for Enrichment Day Volunteers:  Enrichment Day will be on Friday, March 7 this year, and the theme will be "How We Express Ourselves."  Our presenters will be teaching the students about how they use the fine arts every day in their various careers.  We are in need of both presenters and volunteers to make this a fun and rewarding day for the students and teachers.  We are looking for presenters who can teach the students about how they use the arts in their careers (for example: artists, graphic artists, musicians, television production, dance, theater, sound production, etc.).  The presenters will need to present the same 30-minute presentation to each grade level (six total presentations throughout the day).  Volunteers will work ½ day shifts, either from 8:00 am to 10:45 am or from 12:00 pm to 2:45 pm.  Both presenters and volunteers will be provided lunch.  If you or someone you know is willing to present or volunteer to assist the presenters during the day, please contact Carole Callaghan by email at carole@csclawaustin.com or by phone at 512-six.three.six-6138. 



MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Monday, February 10
5:30PM   "Wonder" Author Visits RRISD
Round Rock HS Cafeteria- Door opens at 4:30PM. Limited Seating. 

Thursday, February 13
5:30-6:30PM  IB West Night- Parent Information Night 
Cafeteria at WWHS

Tuesday, February 25
6:30-8:30PM "One World, One Night" Spicewood International Festival

Thursday, February 27
5:00-8:00PM  Spirit Night 
Subway on Anderson Mill